Notes from the Cache Creek council meeting of May 2.
The Village of Cache Creek has been successful in securing a Canada Summer Jobs grant for a summer groundskeeper. The village has also received a grant of $8,500 from the BC Hydro Community Re-Greening program, which supports the planting of trees and other vegetation that help enhance ecological networks. It also ensures that the right trees are planted near power lines. A property on Old Cariboo Road (formerly the site of the TNRD’s recycling station) has been identified as a site for the trees.
Council gave first three readings to its Financial Plan Bylaw, Tax Rates Bylaw, and Sewer System Frontage Tax Amendment Bylaw. All three readings of the bylaws were passed by four votes to one, with Coun. Annette Pittman opposed in each instance. She raised several points concerning the Landfill Legacy Fund and tax and utility rate increases, and said she felt not enough has been done to ensure the village is living within its means.
Coun. Wendy Coomber said that while she did not like the fact that taxes have to be raised so much this year, she understands the reasons why, stating that the village has to play catch-up, as taxes were not raised sufficiently for many years.
The village’s financial plan statement notes that its water, sewer, and waste collection services need increased revenue in order to become self-sustaining. Over the five-year life of the financial plan, water, sewer, and waste collection fees will increase by 25 per cent per year for the next two years and 10 per cent per year for the following three years.
In the 2022 taxation year, taxes will increase by 34 per cent due to property tax assessment increases and a further seven per cent due to municipal tax requirements. The loss of landfill revenue starting in 2017 has resulted in a review of all village rates and charges. The Landfill Legacy Fund will be used in 2022 and 2023 to offset the reduction in landfill revenues, but it is the long-term goal of council to provide services from taxes and user fees alone.
It was clarified that frontage taxes go into reserves, not the general operating fund.
(Note: All three bylaws were given final adoption at a special council meeting on May 5. The vote was four to one in favour of each, with Pittman opposed.)
Dog park/community space
Couture said that staff had identified possible grant funding for the creation of a community space such as a walking park, dog park, or tennis courts, and said that the former TNRD recycling site on Old Cariboo Road is a possible location, to tie in with the BC Hydro Re-Greening grant.
He said that preliminary costing for a dog park — including fencing, substrate, benches, a refuse station, watering station, labour, and signage — would be approximately $43,500. If the village was successful in the grant application, the village’s portion of the costs would be approximately $13,500, which would have little effect on the budget.
There was discussion about the benefits of having the site grassed vs. having it gravelled. Mayor Santo Talarico noted that while grant funding is good, the ongoing maintenance costs are an issue, and that the possibility of incorporating a dog park into an existing space, such as the Cache Creek park, should be investigated.
Coomber said that if part of the park extension was used, it would mean going through the Agricultural Land Reserve process, as a dog park is not an approved use for that land, which is at the north end of the park beyond the new raised road to the water treatment plant. She added that the site already has a washroom and plenty of parking. After some discussion, council passed a motion to direct staff to investigate using the park extension as a location for a dog park, in order to apply for the grant. The deadline for applying for it is mid-June.